Virtual Production education centre, MARS Academy, is to partner with Studio City Norway and “offer its programme on a global scale.”

Backed by the team of virtual production pioneers at Bild Studios and MARS Volume, MARS Academy Norway will offer a masterclass in In-Camera Visual Effects (ICVFX) filmmaking techniques to a new market of film and television professionals. The partnership will support collaboration and skills development across Norway and the UK and “introduce the possibilities of virtual production to a new pool of industry professionals.”

Commenting on the partnership, Joanna Alpe, Chief Commercial Officer at Bild said: “We’re delighted to be able to support the development of skills in virtual production to markets outside of the UK for the first time and take our programme global. This partnership is a symbol of collaboration and is an exciting moment for the virtual production industries both here in the UK and in Norway. Education and knowledge transfer is at the heart of MARS Volume, and our Academy is the outworking of this core value. Hopefully this is just the beginning.”

Studio City Norway is planning to build a full-service film and TV studio complex on the outskirts of Oslo and launch its own virtual production volumes in Norway that will “facilitate the delivery of MARS Academy on a global scale.”

“It was important for Studio City Norway to enter this partnership with Bild Studios to ensure we are at the forefront of the most advanced production technology and expertise. The MARS Academy curriculum has been designed and supported by esteemed virtual production expert professionals with a wealth of experience who will continue to support the provision of the programme in Norway,” says Dag Hvaring, Chief Executive Officer at Studio City Norway. “The programme includes a range of courses specifically designed to arm participants with the knowledge, know-how and confidence to walk on set and add value to any virtual production.”

Gareth Kirkman, Business and Industry Development UK at The British Film Commission said: “As demand for film and TV production in the UK continues to rise, it is essential that key industry areas, such as virtual production, can access the necessary skills and training to accelerate growth. It is fantastic to see opportunities like MARS Academy offering world-class, vocational virtual production training to sustain the UK’s status as a leading production hub for film and TV.

“We’re delighted to see the expansion is extending to Norway. In light of the British Film Commission’s signing of a Memorandum of Understanding this week with the Norwegian Film Commission, this is a great first example of the importance of the collaboration between our two nations.”

Originally launched in September 2022 at MARS Volume in West London, MARS Academy offers producers, directors, DOP’s, VFX artists and other crew members the opportunity to work at one of the UK’s largest independent virtual production volumes.

The MARS Academy and Studio City Norway partnership agreement will be completed at the MARS Academy Alumni graduation event on 8th November in London. The event will celebrate the inaugural graduates from this year’s courses.

Jon Creamer

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